Robot 6

Talking Comics with Tim | Christopher Yost

The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes

Disney XD’s The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes is the kind of show that connects with classic Avengers fans like myself, as well as children seeing the team for the first time. So I considered myself fortunate to catch up with the show’s story editor, Christopher Yost, to discuss the show recently. This Sunday, January 9 at 10 AM EST, in a new episode, The Man Who Stole Tomorrow, Kang the Conqueror, the undisputed ruler of Earth in the 40th Century, and the Avengers cross paths in the 21st century. In addition to discussing  the show, Yost entertained a few questions about the four-issue The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes miniseries, which Marvel launched in November. Marvel has been kind enough to provide an episode guide, as well as video teasers at The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes! hub page.

Tim O’Shea: On a most basic level, what all do you get to do as story editor for The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes show?

Christopher Yost: I’m in charge of the writing, from top to bottom. A few years ago now, Supervising Producer Josh Fine came to me with Marvel’s desire to do an Avengers animated series, and I put forward two concepts for the show, general frameworks for which the series exists in. We ended up using both, more or less.

I plan out the overall season arcs with Josh, I write episodes (usually the kick-offs and the finales) and hire the incredibly talented writers that freelance for the show. I make sure the stories all flow, and the characters all sound like they should.

Within the production, I try to work within the budget and schedule, ie limit the number of characters, the number of new locations, props, etc. I often fail at this part of the job… Avengers is a BIG show.

O’Shea: In a recent Marvel.com piece, you said: “Clint Barton for me is the one guy that if he’s not there, it’s not really the Avengers.” Can you talk a little bit more about why you feel that way about Hawkeye–and how you have been able to convey that sentiment in your use of the character in the show?

Yost: Well, you generally need one of the big three as well, but honestly… In my mind, Hawkeye’s the fourth of the big three. To me, if the team is Black Knight, Sersi, Doctor Druid, Photon and Namor, I’m skeptical – and obviously I love those characters, I mean two of my top five are in there. But you could just as easily call them the Defenders or something. But throw Hawkeye in that mix, and it’s the Avengers again.

He’s the guy you or I could be, if we worked hard enough. Iron Man is similar, but his armor is one step past reality. Not Hawkeye. He’s got the attitude…. he’s a normal guy, standing shoulder to shoulder with the gods, and he’ll get right in their faces. He’s the Han Solo of the team.

O’Shea: Again, Marvel.com in that post, got you to rank your top five Avengers, call me greedy, but can you tell me who you would rank 6-10 (to make your top 10)?

Yost: Ms. Marvel. Hercules. Black Panther. Wonder Man/Beast (combo!). Vision.

O’Shea: I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly you introduced Captain Mar-Vell to the series. But it looks like this Captain is not going to be the blond-haired variety that long-time fans know. Can you talk abut the approach to the character for the series?

Yost: Honestly, Captain Marvel was kind of after my time. I never had any real great love for him, but I did like his red and blue costume. Plus, I’m a Mark Gruenwald Quasar guy. But I did love the Ultimate Secret version of the Captain Marvel character, that Warren Ellis and Steve McNiven did. Which we pretty wholly lifted for the show. He felt alien, he felt military, and he felt cool. Not a super hero, but an alien warrior/scientist, here to examine us more than anything… and then fell in love, something unheard of in the militaristic, science fascism of the Kree Empire.

Aliens that look exactly like humans are a bit boring/improbable, no offense to anyone. Plus, we’ve got a few blue-eyed blondes going as it is. :) So there were all kinds of factors going into ‘blue guy’ Mar-Vell.

O’Shea: How early in the development of the series did you decide you wanted to incorporate Carol Danvers?

Yost: Day one. But we wanted to take our time with her and do it right, because this in many ways will be her introduction to a huge new audience. And we want that audience to love her like we do.

O’Shea: Developing a new series, you get to use characters and situations in a far different way than Stan, Jack and the gang did. How enjoyable is it to get to use Nick Fury and the whole SHIELD dynamics in the Avengers?

Yost: It’s pretty great, to be honest. I’ve said many a day that I think of this as a Marvel Universe show, with the Avengers as our guides. So bringing in Nick and SHIELD was high on the list. Everyone in the production has such a great love of them, too… [supervising director] Ciro Nieli and his team really went back to the comics that made all this great and tried to bring it all to life.

O’Shea: Can you single out particular character moments or scenes from season 1 that you were really pleased to see how they turned out, in terms of execution?

Yost: You’re about to see my hands down favorite in the second half of season one. Gamma World exceeded everything I expected, too. I’m seriously like a kid on Christmas morning every time an episode comes in. I really haven’t been let down yet, and don’t expect to be. I’ve been watching season 2 stuff now, and it’s just as strong.

O’Shea: You have developed a strong following for your animation writing thanks to your work on series such as X-Men: Evolution. How satisfying has it been for you to do the effective world-building/restructuring that you’ve achieved with both series?

Yost: It’s insane beyond belief, I’m so grateful to be able to work on these shows, with this world and these characters. The Marvel Universe is a great place to work.

O’Shea: The comic book industry is always trying to figure out new ways to get more kids to read comics, how much do you think series like yours is effective in getting kids interested in comics?

Yost: I love comics so much, I honestly try to put the love of them into every show I work on, hoping that kids will see these characters, these stories, and look to their parents and say ‘I want more.’ If I could put a ‘GI Joe’ esque ad in the last 30 seconds of each episode, with an Avenger pushing comic books, I would. Because knowing about comic books is half the battle! Kids won’t know unless someone shows them.

O’Shea: In addition to getting to bring the comic book characters to life with the TV series, you are also writing an Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes comic book miniseries, where you get to use characters that have yet to appear in the show. Can you talk about what you wanted to achieve with the comic (as opposed to your goals with the TV series)?

Yost: Marvel publishing came to me with it, they’re really pulling out all the stops in supporting the show. So that when kids DO ask for more, and convince their parents to take them to the comic store, there’s something there they can buy that IS the show.

I really wanted to flesh out the world of the series, do some of the things we couldn’t do in the show for this reason or that, and just to have fun. We’ll have Batroc’s Brigade, Super-Adaptoid, Mad Thinker, the Winter Guard, Elders of the Universe… we just go for it. This is the Marvel Universe, and it’s full of amazingness. And working with Scott Wegener and Patrick Scherberger has been a blast and a half.

O’Shea: Anything you’d like to discuss that I neglected to ask you about?

Yost: The response from comic fans has been amazing, I’m really grateful to everyone watching… but even more, hearing about comic fans sitting down with THEIR kids, and introducing their children to the Avengers… that’s just the best.

And on Sunday, January 9th, our biggest story on the show yet begins as Kang the Conqueror arrives in the 21st century. The Man Who Stole Tomorrow begins the Kang Saga for The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes on Disney XD, Sunday mornings!!

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Comments

26 Comments

I love this show, and I’m pretty picky.

Have to say I was very skeptical of the show given the last Avengers series, but have been blown away by how much I enjoy the series.

How come no one ever asks about if quicksilver or scarlet witch are going to be showing up in these interviews. Are there just certain things that are off limits. I know vision can’t come around until after the ultron story threads are finished, but we already know mutants live in this world a hawkeye is already on the team.

Tim, Can you call/email those guys back and ask why Disney XD is burying their best show on Sunday mornings? (And by best, I mean only good show.)

Our five-person gaming group, plus people at work, all LOVE this show. They call it the best animated series they’ve seen featuring the Marvel characters, and most are saying it’s the best superhero show since JLU.

Glad to hear Yost realizes Clint is an essential Avenger. I just don’t understand why everyone but Bendis seems to get that.

I agree with Stew, though: Wanda (and to a lesser degree Pietro) needs to be part of this. She’s as much a key Avenger as Clint, Jan, Hank, etc.

I love Jan’s portrayal on this show. She’s absolutely letter perfect and it makes me miss her so much in the Marvel comics. Hopefully she’ll be back sooner than later from that refrigerator Bendis stuck her in.

That’s the best cartoon I’ve ever seen.

Yes, even better than The Simpsons.

Thank you SO FUCKIN MUCH for this, Yost.

People here in Brazil are already starting to see the show on Disney XD and it’s gathering a great following, from older comic book fans to kids.

I am incredibly picky; I watch every episode I can.

Why does Iron Man have blue nipples?

Christoph Klasen

January 7, 2011 at 12:37 pm

This show is fantastic.
I am wondering – will they be able to include Beast/ Wolverine as Avengers or does fox have their license? I did see that Logan was one of the howling commandos

Great interview. And like Yost, Black Knight is my favorite Avengers as well.

But…

Unlike Yost, I don’t see Hawkeye as being indispensable. Although I do agree he would definintely be a strong contender for a “Big 4″ position.

Also, as a longtime Avengers fan, I can safely say Hawkeye has never been the Han Solo of the team. He’s just not that cool-headed. Nah, Clint is much more like the cocky Luke Skywalker of the first Star Wars film – he’s a guy with plenty of potential, but he just won’t shut up and listen to anyone long enough to gain any kind of insight.

The Han Solo of the Avengers – based on the brilliant Bob Harras/Steve Epting/Tom Palmer run – is very clearly Dane Whitman, The Black Knight.

(And in the Walt Simonson/John Buscema/Tom Palmer run, the Black Knight was even “frozen in carbonite.” Or at least, frozen in ebony meteorite. Ha.)

Big fan of the show as well, but I am also wondering why they put it on Sunday mornings after giving the first couple eps prime time exposure. I guess we shouldn’t be worried, seeing as how they ordered two seasons up front, but I hope it’s doing well in the ratings anyway.

This cartoon has made it easy for me to really get my 5 year old into the Avengers! Love Hulks character and can’t wait for Cap to step up into the leadership roll.

I love love love this show, though I kind of hold my nose a bit at the Wasp’s character design. The amount of obvious love for Marvel evident in every frame is great. And the end of the most recent episode, “Widow’s Sting” actually made me gasp out loud in amazement =)

Keep it up, awesome folks!

David Montenegro

January 7, 2011 at 6:42 pm

I love this show, can’t wait to see more cameos by other characters, hopefully the X-Men.

Anyway, Janet is by far the most fun character of the roster, could we see a movie about her rather than Ant-Man? Just think about it, The Stunning Wasp! :D

I live in South America and the latin american dub has been top notch, and only few weeks behind USA.
¡Episode “459″ premieres this sunday!

¡Keep up the good work!

I love all the little nods and ‘injokes’. From the X-man reference in the tabloid, to Wolverine in the Howling commandos, to Wild Bill in the hulkbusters.

This cartoon is awesome. It’s almost enough to make me lament the death of Wolverine and the X-Men.

Now if only we could get a purchasable track of the theme.

Harlock999, I couldn’t agree more! C’mon, do something with the Black Knight.

christopher wiebe

January 7, 2011 at 11:50 pm

hey man, this show’s the best. i’ve got my buddies watching it and waiting with baited teeth for the next episode! this is way better than what’s in print right now. Marvel should be taking notes on the success of this show and what people REALLY WANT as opposed to more heartless, crossover crap with bad continuity and poor plotting. AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!

For those asking the “why Sunday” question, I’ll be happy to shoot an email to Mr. Yost, but can’t promise an answer, of course. While the new episodes premiere on Sunday, it appears that they will repeat the episode in the prime time Wednesday slot (as shown here: http://tvlistings.zap2it.com/tv/avengers-earths-mightiest-heroes/EP01326052)

The artist formerly known as Ninja Bob

January 9, 2011 at 12:02 am

Great interview and “The Avengers” is the best Marvel animated show since “Spectacular Spider-Man” was on the air. If i’m not mistaken, they repeat the episodes from Sunday morning later at 10:30 pm and also on Wednesday.

For me, this cartoon is *just* below The Spectacular Spider-Man in rankings. Just like TSS, here we have great plotting, the love for and care on the updates and reworking of Marvel continuity is evident and completely balanced for old and new fans alike.

DC has been the king of superhero cartoons (Batman TAS, JLU) for some time but Marvel has been slowly gaining on them and at the rate they’re going will soon claim the crown.

The only ‘fault’ I find with Avengers is that I’ve come to admit how much of a ‘boy’s club’ the Avengers really is – we need more female superheroes ASAP ;-)

I agree this show is great and I can’t wait for each new episode. I especially liked the episode where the Hulk says to Thor that he’ll rejoin the Avengers only if cupid (referring to Hawkeye) joins as well, and then Hawkeye turns around and says to the Hulk “You wanna go? C’mon…” I would love to see more of the same interaction between those two. Great fun!

I cannot express how amazing this show is. I’ve seen (pretty much) every Marvel cartoon and read every old comic. And this just blows me away. Episode after episode we get thrown a ton of history and new characters. I’d say too much if I wasn’t enjoying every second. I’ve even begun to like the theme.

Rok-L: today’s new episode gives you some more fun Hawkeye and Hulk banter. I Tivo-d it and saw the episode this afternoon, some great Cap and Iron Man moments in this episode as well. I’m curious to hear what other folks thought of the arrival of Kang?

Brian from Canada

January 9, 2011 at 6:19 pm

I love the show — DESPITE the series ending at “Gamma World” in Canada for quite some time (thank you iTunes USA!).

This IS the Marvel version of JLU, hands down. “Widow’s Sting” made so many references to the criminal organizations of the Marvel Universe, it really enforces that there is a whole underpinning to the world we’re seeing and not, as both X-Men and Spider-Man has done repeatedly in the past, just a handful of regular villains.

What I’d *really* like to know from Mr. Yost is what the limits on the series actually are. He mentions “Mad Thinker,” but Thinker was used in the show. Other characters have been mentioned as well, such as Reed Richards too — are they off limits?

The show wouldn’t be the same without Yost. I hope he never leaves.

I’ve been waiting for an impressive Marvel Animated Series for some time. Wolverine and the X-men was the first series to come along but sadly did not last. I was skeptical about Avengers when it first started. I watched The Super Hero Squad Show much to my personal horror and was left waiting for Avengers to go very badly.

The first few episodes were a little rough but unlike DC’s Justice League they did not have previous Series about individual characters to build upon so I was prepared for a little exhibition. When “Gamma World” finally aired I knew I finally found what I was wanting.

I know Chris Yost would give us great writing, between his various work with Marvel in the past few years and his run establishing Red Robin I knew they put the series in good hands, but it is nice to see the final product be as the quality product that it is. Kudos to everyone involved with this series and may it run for many many seasons.

Just change the Theme Song and I will have no complaints.

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